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Prescription Drug Abuse on the Rise in Senior Citizens

Over the past three decades, adults and children have been increasingly exposed to regular prescription drug use. Medications are routinely prescribed for ailments that range from minor to serious and everything in between. Unfortunately, many of these drugs have the potential to create a chemical or psychological dependency within their users.

Though problems are also on the rise with teenagers and young adults, it is the adult population over the age of 65 who have developed the most serious problem with prescription drug abuse. Pain killers, tranquilizers, and medications that treat depression are the most commonly used, and abused, by the senior population.

With so many prescription drugs available on the market to treat chronic pain symptoms, stress, and anxiety, it is no wonder that so many older adults have developed serious addictions to them.

One school of thought regarding this problem is that medical practitioners need to begin a regular practice of treating people beyond the surface.  In other words, rather than simply treating the obvious symptom (pain, stress, etc.) patients would be better served if they were treated in a more thoughtful manner. For instance, if people were sent through a long-term regimen of physical therapy, counseling, or pain management they might develop the skills and abilities that are necessary to be able to handle their physical ailments without the continuous use of pills.

It is particularly important that older adults do not attempt to stop their regular use of any medication without first consulting their physician. With some medications, it is simply too dangerous to suddenly stop using them. Of course, the smart way to stop using any type of prescription drug is to seek the assistance of a trained substance abuse professional.

 

 

 

Sources Used

1. Greider, Katharine. AARP Bulletin Today. “Prescription Drug Addiction on the Rise.” //bulletin.aarp.org/yourhealth/medications/articles/

prescription_drug_addiction_on_the_rise.html. Accessed 18 April 2009.

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